Head coach Bobby Crutchley admitted England’s men were given a rude awakening at the EuroHockey Championships as they lost their semi-final clash with Belgium but insists reaching the final four is still an achievement.
England met hosts Belgium in the second semi-final of the European Championships in Boom looking to follow in the footsteps of the women’s team, who defeated the Netherlands after a shoot-out to reach the final.
However they were beaten 3-0 by the Belgians as Thomas Briels put them 1-0 up in the first half before Jerome Truyens and Florent van Aubel completed the scoring after the break.
Belgium now go on to the final where they will face Germany while England face a scrap for bronze with the Netherlands with Crutchley honest in his assessment of their semi-final performance but ultimately proud.
"I think it was a reality check for us, Belgium played really well and deserved the victory to take them to the final. They scored at key times when it was still tight and they managed to take the game away from us,” said Crutchley.
“As a team we are some distance away from getting the results that Belgium have had recently, beating the likes of Germany and Australia. I'm really proud of the boys to get into the top four.
“I said before the tournament that was our primary objective and we've achieved that. We've played the Netherlands a lot recently and we've just come out on the wrong side of those games.
“But they have been really close battles. It will be great to play them again on Sunday for a medal.”
© Sportsbeat 2013